10 Ways to find happiness in the new year

by Ari Adams
Jan 5, 2016 at 8:37 p.m. ET
Image: Hero Images/Getty Images

A new year brings about a host of happy and hopeful thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, for many, it can also be pretty overwhelming as we carry over hang ups and disappointments from the previous year. As the saying goes, there’s no better time than the present to break this cycle and bring about a change in the new year! Here are 10 ways to find your happy place in 2016.

Share some laughs with old friends

Your old friends from the neighborhood, high school or college hold the most special treasure to help you find your happy place: great memories! These are the memories from the simplest and most uninhibited times of your life and sometimes just what the doctor ordered to fill that void in your cluttered, adult life. While you probably feel quite caught up with old pals through Facebook, I challenge you to take it a step further. Call an old friend or set up a lunch date if possible and let the fun times begin.

Surround yourself with beauty

Make it a habit to spend some time each week surrounded by a beautiful space, whether it's a single beautifully decorated room in your home or a day spent at your local botanical gardens. You'll find it to be a refreshing break from your usual backdrop of dirty dishes or scattered kids’ toys. Make it a point to take a moment to bask in a space that brings you some peace and inspiration.

Travel to someplace new

While a luxurious trip to Tahiti would certainly help in finding your happy place, fortunately, you don't have to dole out that big of an expense. There are most likely multiple excursions within an hour or two of your home where you can find some relaxation, rejuvenation or just a new and refreshing experience.

Write a letter to your former self

Oh, the wisdom you've gained over the years! Take the time to share that wisdom with your former self, reminding her that there are several things that will turn out better than she thought.

Get active

The physical, mental and emotional benefits of exercise are endless — from increased energy and reduced stress to helping you find your happy place. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are attributed to feelings of happiness and euphoria. A rockin’ body for 2016 never hurts either!

Check something off of your bucket list. Anything!

There may be some things on your bucket list that simply aren’t going to be feasible this year. However, now is as good a time as any to learn a second language, take part in a stage production or those bucket list tasks you’ve been putting off for whatever reason.

Re-read your favorite book from childhood

Remember feeling completely engrossed in the lives of the Baby-Sitters Club members or Sweet Valley High twins? Or were you one who enjoyed the shock of uncovering the mystery in a Nancy Drew novel or Encyclopedia Brown story? Just for kicks and an extremely quick read, take a trip down memory lane and re-read one of your favorite childhood books. Give yourself extra points if you still remember the ending!

Freshen up your look

The new year is always the perfect time for a mini makeover! Don’t be afraid to try something drastic like a fresh new haircut some added highlights. Even if you’re looking for something non-committal, you can try out a new nail color or buy an article of clothing in a complete opposite color than the rest of your wardrobe — red shoes, white coat or whatever else you don't have in your closet! Just keep it fun and be bold. You’ll be a happier person for just having the courage to step out of your comfort zone once in a while.

Do some volunteer work

Finding purpose and making a difference in someone’s life is possibly one of the best ways to find your happy place. Do some research to find volunteer opportunities in your community or perhaps, find a global initiative you are passionate about. No matter how large or small your contribution, take pride in the fact that you are being a blessing to another person in the universe.

Set a big goal or plan for the year — or years — ahead

Let 2016 be the year you dream and plan big. Even if finances and time constraints seem to be an issue today, go ahead and put plans in motion for something big to happen in the upcoming years. Thinking about a career change in the next five years? Go ahead and start a training or certification program this year to prepare yourself for it. Thinking about taking a big family cruise in 2017? Make this a year of saving for it. The most important thing here is that you set realistic timelines for these big goals and diligently take steps toward that goal.

Ari Adams is a "Chiro-wife," mom of 2 amazing daughters, blogger, and author. She’s the lady behind the blog, Love, Peace,and Tiny Feet, where she shares the memorable and sometimes crazy experiences of balancing parenthood, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and finding love and peace in imperfection. You can keep in touch with her on FacebookTwitter, and/or Instagram.